NSA's Cyberwarfare Blowback
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/09/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21632
In May and June 2017, hackers took over thousands of computers around the world, encrypted their contents, and demanded ransom to decrypt them. They used tools developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) to exploit vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system.
The activities of the so-called "U.S. intelligence community" include cybersecurity, cyberintelligence and cyberwarfare.
Cbersecurity is defense against cyberattacks by governmental and nongovernmental actors. It involves finding weaknesses in computers and networks and devising ways to fix them and prevent intrusion. Virus protection software and ad-blockers are examples of this.
Cyberintelligence is spying on governments, corporations and people by digital means. It involves finding weaknesses in computers and networks and devising ways to exploit them to gather intelligence.
Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA collects metadata on almost every electronic communication in the United States and a great many in other countries. Metadata in this context is data about who contacts whom, by what means, where, when and for how long.
The NSA has tools to access the content of the communications too, unless they are strongly encrypted. Their doing so is supposedly limited by the requirement of court approval, but "national security" is a watchword that gets past most oversight.